As far back as Anastasia Elliot could remember, music was the “Only” passion. Classical piano lessons would lead to Opera training around 9 years old and if she wasn’t practicing she was spending her time immersed in the world of the Houston Grand Opera, her grandfather being Chairman of the Board. Sure, we have all heard these types of stories from many musicians. Growing up around music typically inspires one to make it later in life. However, at some point from those days until now, Anastasia Elliot didn’t just grow up to write and perform music, she became it.
Anastasia Elliot is one of those rare talents that has the ability to function on a higher creative level than most. The type of artist who not only writes a song but also creates an entire universe around it. About 14 seconds into her latest music video and single “Cigarettes and Gasoline,” her voice doesn’t so much “hit you” in the face like a wave but rather flows over you like sinking into a warm bath. It draws you in slowly…almost hypnotizes you and for a brief moment, I feel like Odysseus hearing the Sirens while passing by the island of Anthemoess, if you catch my drift. It isn’t just her voice that captivates you, it’s the beautiful visual aesthetic that she seems to present in almost every facet of her being. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Anastasia and she offered us up a little glimpse into her Universe of music.
Your video for Cigarettes and Gasoline is awesome! It has such a wonderful visual element to it. Did you come up with the concept and the wardrobes all your own or did you work with a creative team?
Anastasia: There is a very fine line between reality and fantasy and this project definitely plays with that line. I co-design all of my wardrobes with amazing designers. Each piece has a really neat story. It’s been a wild ride for this project.
Is that visual aesthetic something that is going to transition into the rest of the album and also live performances?
Anastasia: Cigarettes and Gasoline” is the prologue to a very long and extensive project that will fill up 2020. I guess you could call it an album but it’s more of a collection of singles and it will be rolling out in that way. I think the way that people digest music, putting out large collections as they often do, is a bit of a disservice to the art that is created. Especially as a new artist because for me and this project, every song and every visual has had so much love and care put into it. I don’t want too much to be thrown at a fan at any given time. So I decided to string it out and go slowly. I will tell you if it was a good idea next year!
I notice you sing in different languages, one most notably being French. Are you fluent in other languages?
Anastasia: Growing up being trained in Opera I have always sung in different languages. French and Italian, the romance languages are some of my favorites. I am not fluent in those but I am currently learning to speak Chinese. So someday I will have to write some songs in Mandarin. I love Asia so much, growing up my father worked all the time in Asia and we finally got to go many years back. I just fell in love! I love everything about the culture and food. The language is so fascinating to me, how it’s centered around tones. It is a very musical language to speak, it’s very difficult but it’s coming along. I have been trying to use my Duolingo app for at least 15 minutes a day.
Are the songs you have released so far, “The boy who cried Love” and “Cigarettes and Gasoline” about a particular person or an overall interpretation of love in general?
Anastasia: The Boy Who Cried Love is definitely a separate piece from this project, I wouldn’t necessarily include it in the collection rolling out. As a writer, I don’t tend to write about personal experiences. I am definitely more of a “feelings” writer. As I am writing I am creating worlds in my head but I am sure certain people make their way into my stories and I don’t even realize it.
I read somewhere that you felt trapped or stuck in a record deal and you left to pursue your own path. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Anastasia: Absolutely! I am actually incredibly glad to talk about that because I think something I said was misconstrued a bit in those early articles. I was not stuck or trapped, I actually had a wonderful experience with my record label. (Warner Bros) We had signed with President Dan McCarrol but there was a regime change and he went over to Amazon and a lot of my team was let go or shifted. At the time we were very close to releasing the music and I decided it was a better idea to take all of my work and put it out on my own rather than being assigned a new team. It was a personal decision and I am very happy I made it. We are definitely on fine terms! I was given an amazing opportunity with this new project and they gave me the space to create exactly what I wanted to create.
As your future in music goes forward, could you ever see yourself branching out to different genres? Your voice reminds me of something I could hear in European Heavy Metal, kind of like Nightwish. Is that something you could ever see yourself doing?
Anastasia: Absolutely! I am not sure of how much of this collection you have already heard but this project spans multiple genres. As I am starting to conceptualize and think of the next project it will definitely be deviating even more. Without giving too much away. I absolutely love that you are suggesting that!
Are there any particular vocalists that you consider influences?
Anastasia: Shockingly, I don’t currently listen to music much very often. Growing up it was Billy Idol, Annie Lennox, Kate Bush, Taylor Dayne, Pat Benatar. I just absolutely loved strong, clean and “dramatic” vocalists. That definitely must have planted a seed when I was younger. When I listen to music now it tends to be more Classical or background chill music. I don’t really like for my own writing to be influenced by others. I find when you are intaking a lot of music it finds its way into your creative process so currently I try to avoid that and be as original as possible. However, I am the type of person where if someone tells me about an awesome new song or artist I will have that song on repeat until I burn it out.
So what does the rest of this year going into next year hold for you?
Anastasia: Sooo much content for the fans and a lot of shows! The unfolding of the Universe I have made for everyone for the past many years!
As Marilyn Manson once said “I’m not an artist, I am a F*ckin work of art. I don’t often say this about musicians but I believe that Anastasia Elliot is a work of art. It was truly a privilege to speak with her and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this supremely talented artist.
- Derek Jones
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